Alaska is world renowned for its stunning vistas and shimmering glaciers that can bubble, snap, and crackle. The air is super fresh, and you can witness humpback whales as you sail along the inside passage along with an impressive wilderness and wildlife that keep people coming back to this alluring destination.
Alaska cruises typically take place between late April and mid-September. There are many different cruise lines that travel to Alaska, and it is important to choose one that has appropriate demographics, price point, and service level you are accustomed to enjoying. Some cruise lines offer round trip sailings from Vancouver or Seattle, and many sailings are one directional, so a short flight would be involved at the beginning or end of your cruise.
It is very popular to add on a land package or rail tour, when doing an Alaska cruise. You can also add on an award winning Rocky Mountaineer train trip from Vancouver or Seattle to enjoy the Rocky Mountains. And in Alaska, Denali National Park and McKinley National land extensions, will give you more time to experience local culture, cuisine, give you time to learn about the history of the area, and see more wildlife.
If you love salmon, Alaska is perfect for you! There are 5 kinds of salmon available, and they are: Silver Coho, Red Sockeye, Pink Humpback, King Chinook and Chum Keta. The world’s largest salmon was from Kenai River in Alaska and weighed 97.5 pounds. Wow!
If you’re very lucky, you may see a wolf, as Alaska is home to 6,500 wolves. There are also brown and black bears, moose around Skagway, mountain goats around Juneau, harbor seals, sea lions, porpoises, lots of eagles, gray whales, humpback whales, fin whales and killer whales.
We went on a whale watching excursion and were treated to a fantastic show of whales breaching and saw humpback whales bubble feeding. This fascinating behavior happens when a group of whales collaborate, and blow bubbles in a circle to create a bubble-net, to herd a bunch of fish. The whales then open their mouths and swim up all at once, enjoying a feast of herring and other fish in one big gulp. Bubble feeding is an interesting behavior to witness, and an amazing experience we will treasure forever.
There are many fun things to do at the ports on your Alaska cruise. Skagway is home to only a couple hundred people and the name Skagway comes from the native Tlingit word meaning north wind. This town was the prime starting point for gold prospectors during the great gold rush of 1898.
One of the best things to do in Skagway is a combination excursion of a White Pass Railway and Luxury motor coach ride. This takes you on a railroad ride down the historic and narrow-gauge railroad and then the motorize coach travels along the scenic Klondike Highway for two different experiences.
The narrow-gauge railroad is an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, which was built during the Klondike Gold Rush. You will experience the breathtaking panorama of mountains, gorges, waterfalls, tunnels, glaciers, trestles and historic sites in comfort during this adventure.
In Skagway you can also rent a jeep, do a scenic float, go hiking, biking, rock climbing, and repelling. There is shopping and when you need a break from all the activities you can stop for a beer at the famous Red Onion Saloon. This saloon offers tours of the old brothel upstairs, which is apparently haunted. There are many types of beer to sample at the 19-foot mahogany bar.
Ketchikan has a lot of totem poles and is the salmon fishing capital of the world. The TV show “The deadliest catch” was filmed here and it is an ideal place for sea crab fishing too. A Sea crab fisherman tour is very popular, or you can take a 40-minute plane ride or small boat and visit a 1,000-foot waterfall at Big Goat Lake and the Magnificent Misty Fjords. Zip-lining is also available in Ketchikan and they have 4,500 feet of cable for you to zip along on. Wheeee!
Juneau is the capital of Alaska and home to the famous Mendenhall Glacier which boasts ice that can be 4,500 feet thick. Mount Roberts Tramway will take you to a stunning panoramic viewpoint which is 1,800-feet about sea level. This is a spectacular place to take those selfies, and you will probably see some eagles.
Juneau is the perfect place to book a fly fishing or salmon fishing excursion, a salmon bake, helicopter ride, walk on a glacier, and go whale watching.
Whittier is a sleepy tiny town tucked between some picturesque mountains. You can take the Alaska Railroad toward Anchorage to visit Mt. McKinley, Denali Park, and Fairbanks. Mt. McKinley is North American’s tallest peak and is home to some wonderful hiking trails. You can learn about the fascination Iditarod dog sled races, cuddle some puppies, go rafting, kayaking, or take a helicopter ride.
Victoria is the capital of British Columbia Canada and is a popular port on an Alaskan cruise. Here we toured the historic Empress hotel and checked out the totem poles. There is a cute double decker bus that you can hop on and hop off to explore the city. Butchart Gardens and the historic downtown are popular attractions well worth checking out.
We have been to Alaska several times and have the knowledge to help you plan the perfect vacation, so you can create your own memories, of this breath-taking destination.